The SPLINE DB wheelset range from DT Swiss is a welcome addition to the disc brake wheel market and with their entry-level R24s they come in at a sensible price and weight too. Pair that to excellent build quality from decent components and you've got a wheelset that'll cover everything from fast training rides to a bit of cyclo-cross.
Being launched for 2015 these wheels are, as you'd expect, bang up to date in terms of technology and the current trend of increasing tyre width on road bikes, so you won't be disappointed.
Starting with the disc specific rim, i.e. no brake track, the 23mm deep clinchers have an internal width of 18mm making them perfect for running 25 and 28mm wide tyres that we are seeing on many of the disc equipped bikes coming through the road.cc office. The wider rim allows a more rounded tyre profile instead of the usual 'lightbulb effect' you get from mounting a large tyre on a more traditional narrow rim. The broader tyre shape gives you more grip in the corners. It's tubeless compatible too.
The hubs are 11 speed Shimano/SRAM fitment (sorry Campagnolo users) and use DT Swiss's pawl system rather than the ratchet one found on the more expensive wheels. Pick-up is instant though, the second you give the pedals a kick the wheels respond.
Standards are yet to settle as far as attaching the wheels to your bike goes, so DT Swiss have got round this by using push fit adaptors for 12mm or 15mm thru axles and the more common 5mm quick release skewer. It's good to see this level of adaptability especially at this price point.
Spoke numbers and lacing patterns have long been a contentious issue when it comes to road bikes running discs. DT have gone 24 straight pull in a two cross pattern front and rear and trust me there have been no issues dealing with the braking forces dished out on 50mph to 0mph hard stopping efforts. They are bladed so you might get a bit of an aero advantage but much more importantly they look pretty cool.
DT use aluminium nipples, not something I'm too much of a fan of on training wheels that are likely see a lot of poor weather and the odd bit of road salt. I've had plenty in the past that have corroded and split so would ideally like to see brass. Because they poke out externally from the rim you can true the wheel without having to remove the tyre and tube, not that I've needed to, as they've stayed as straight as a die for the test period.
As far as disc mounting goes, the hubs are designed for Shimano's Center Lock where the rotor slides on and is then held in place with what is basically a freewheel lockring. In the box you get a pair of Center Lock/IS adaptors if you are using six-bolt rotors.
Out on the road the R24s feel very tight and stiff, being borderline harsh, but thanks to the 28mm tyres (which fitted with absolute ease by the way) you can knock a bit of the pressure out to increase comfort. At 1810g for the pair, acceleration isn't razor sharp but it's far from sluggish and once rolling are easy to keep moving, with the bearings running beautifully smooth.
There isn't a huge amount in the way of competition out there at the moment but they are lighter and cheaper than Mavic's Askium Disc although I haven't personally ridden them yet to be able to compare ride quality. I'd take the R24s over the similarly weighted Shimano RX31s, though, the DT Swiss offering a much tighter ride and better all-round feel.
Overall, the R24s deliver exactly what they are intended for: a hardwearing, durable training wheelset that has still got enough zip and performance to provide a rapid ride. In fact the only time the weight becomes noticeable is when pulling away from a standing start.
Build quality is excellent. Plenty of potholes and rough roads were clattered over during the 800km of testing and they are still running as true as the day they were delivered, and from previous experience I'd expect them to stay that way too.
Great addition to the disc wheel marketplace offering a good balance of speed, weight and price
road.cc test report
Make and model: DT Swiss R24 Spline wheelset
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
DT Swiss say "At the core of this all round wheelset lies a brand new aluminium rim with its balanced width to stiffness to weight ratio. The R 24 SPLINE® DB is built around it and features a proven pawl system freewheel as well as a high end build with bladed spokes and elaborate alloy nipples. With these features it is a premium training wheel, be it for road or cyclocross use" I think they are pretty spot on, the R24s are perfect for training or as a do-anything wheelset thanks to solid build quality. I appreciate Campagnolo haven't made it to the disc market yet, but the lack of freehub is a bit of an omission in my eyes.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Rims : Clincher, tubeless compatible.
Hub: Shimano 11spd (Washer included for 8,9 & 10spd)
Spokes: DT Aero, DT Aero Comp 2-cross, 24 f & r
Nipples: DT Pro Lock aluminium
Disk fitment: Centre Lock (IS adaptor included)
Need big tyres to take the sting out.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They are solid, dependable wheels which offer a spirited ride.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The build quality
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The lack of a Campagnolo option
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I now have
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The R24s are a very good wheelset for their intended purpose with a decent weight per cost ratio which puts them above the competition.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.